The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it's also a time when we generate a lot of waste. How can we make our Christmas more sustainable without compromising on the festive spirit?
For this upcoming holiday, let's prioritize sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint by opting for eco-friendly decor ideas. In this article, we will explore some creative and practical ways to decorate your home for the holidays while keeping the planet in mind.
1. Know your Christmas tree options.
When it comes to decking the halls, nothing says "seasonal perfection" quite like a majestic Christmas tree, and your most obvious options: real trees and plastic ones.
But which is more eco-friendly, a real tree or a plastic one? There has been quite a debate over this, and while a real tree seems like the no-brainer choice, both these options have their own pros and cons. Knowing what they are might help you choose the one that truly aligns with your lifestyle.
Real Christmas trees are biodegradable and can be composted or chipped into mulch. This reduces their environmental impact and keeps them from ending up in landfills. However, transporting these trees can contribute to carbon emissions.
Additionally, getting rid of them properly may require specific recycling programs that may not be available in your area. It's also worth noting that some Christmas tree farms use harmful pesticides that can damage the environment.
One benefit of plastic trees is that they can be reused for multiple years, which means you don't have to buy a new one each year. When stored properly after use, a plastic tree might even last for decades.
Unfortunately, plastic Christmas trees come with a hefty environmental price tag. These trees are made from non-biodegradable materials, which means that buying one means risking another addition to the growing pile in our landfills.
And that's not all. Their production and transportation also release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
But are they really your only options? Luckily for you, there are plenty nowadays, and here are a few of them:
Rent a Tree
Believe it or not, you can now rent your very own tree for the holiday season. While not available everywhere in the US, this unique service is definitely worth exploring. So, while it's early, you might want to start checking where to rent one in your area.
But how does renting a tree actually work?
First, you pick a tree online, and someone from the farm delivers your tree in a pot right to your door. It's all up to you to take care of it while it's with you. On the designated pick-up date, the tree will be collected and replanted. The farm will take good care of the tree until it's ready to be rented out again next year.
Use Your Houseplants
Get creative this Christmas and ditch the traditional tree! Transform your houseplants into eco-friendly Christmas trees for a unique and sustainable holiday decor.
Using houseplants as Christmas trees has several advantages. It's eco-friendly, as you don't need to cut down and dispose of a fresh tree each year. Plus, they can be enjoyed all year round, adding greenery and life to your home.
Some houseplants, like Norfolk Island Pine and Ficus Benjamina, have a similar shape and appearance to traditional Christmas trees, making them a great substitute. They're smaller and are much easier to decorate.
We found this blog from Hortology about Christmas tree alternatives. You might want to check it out for inspiration.
Christmas Tree From Old Materials
Aside from houseplants, you can also use old books and magazines to create a Christmas tree, and we found a couple of cute inspos on Pinterest!
A simple pile of books, adorned with golden ribbons and string lights can make a beautiful "tree":
Check out this super easy hanging tree made from branches:
Tablescape trees from pages of old books, magazines, and music sheets:
2. DIY Christmas decorations instead of buying new ones.
There are many reasons why DIY Christmas decorations are better than store-bought ones.
DIY decor is all about personalization and meaning. When you create your own decorations, you have the power to add your own unique touch. This makes them extra special for you and your loved ones. Plus, making your own decorations is an awesome way to get into the holiday spirit and have some fun with your family and friends.
DIY decor is typically more eco-friendly than store-bought decorations because it can be made from natural materials like pinecones, branches, and dried fruit, whereas store-bought decor often utilizes plastic and other non-renewable resources. This makes DIY decor a more sustainable option. Here are a few examples to inspire you:
A festive, all-natural wreath
To create an all-natural Christmas wreath, use lush evergreen branches like pine, fir, spruce, and cedar as the foundation. Then elevate its rustic charm with pine cones and dried oranges for a touch of texture. For a touch of festive color, incorporate some holly (just be cautious as it can be toxic if eaten) or some reusable ribbons that you can repurpose for other fun DIY projects.
Dried orange and pine cone garland
A great example of a fuss-free, homemade decoration - dried oranges and pinecones garland. Learn how to make one from this tutorial by The Humble Farmgirl.
Origami stars from old paper
Get creative and make stunning stars for garlands or tree decorations using old magazines, music sheets, or even grocery bags.
Candles in jars
Instead of string lights, try using candles in jars. No need to buy new mason jars - repurpose old jam or jelly glass jars or even old candle jars. Simply add tea lights and create a cozy ambiance. Just remember to blow them out before you sleep to ensure safety.
3. Fix and repaint old decor.
Before you splurge on new decor, take a moment to revisit your old ones. You'll be surprised at how easily they can be revived with a little touch-up. Perhaps you just need to glue broken pieces together and or give them a fresh coat of paint.
4. Wrap presents the reusable way.
Gift wrapping doesn't have to be a wasteful ordeal. Over the years, you must have accumulated piles of paper from grocery bags, old newspapers and magazines, and the extra bits of packaging that you get from deliveries. Use them to house presents this year instead of new wrapping paper.
Just add a touch of festive elegance with reusable gold fabric ribbons, and voila - you've wrapped a stunning and eco-friendly gift.
Tip: You can also use fabric to wrap presents and reuse it for the years to come.
5. Go natural on the tablescape.
Choose a natural tablecloth or runner. Opt for a timeless linen or cotton tablecloth that you can enjoy for many years to come. Or, get creative with a burlap or other natural material runner. OR, skip it altogether, especially if you have a beautiful, solid wood table.
Create a show-stopping centerpiece by incorporating stunning natural elements like fresh or dried flowers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, pine cones, and the vibrant leaves of pine and fir trees.
Christmas is a time for giving and sharing, but it's also become a time of excessive consumption and waste. From plastic decorations to excessive food packaging, the environmental impact of the holiday season is substantial.
However, by making small changes to our holiday traditions, we can promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly festivity. We hope that this article showed you a few helpful tips to start.